Changes to dairy farming Jan. 1

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Starting the first of the year, there are some changes to dairy farming. Dr. Heather Schlesser stopped by NewsChannel 7 at Noon Wednesday to explain.

Here are the changes:

*Dehorning before eight weeks of age must be done with pain mitigation. This is something that has been around, but the National Dairy Farm Program is stressing pain mitigation. The program is open to all dairy farmers, co-ops and processors across the U.S. and sets the highest standards in animal care.

*The practice of tail docking is now longer allowed. Dr. Schlesser said, "Currently, there's 105 participating co-ops that participate in the National Dairy Farm Program and that accounts for 98 percent of the total milk sold in the U.S." She goes on to say within the program, there's a list of different guidelines, including one that does away with tail docking.

*The use of bST is being discontinued. bST is the growth hormone that helps cows produce more milk.

*Another big change is the Veterinary Feed Directive. Before you could go to a co-op and buy food with antibiotics in it for livestock, now, you have to work with a veterinarian to get a piece of paper, similar to a prescription, to get that feed.